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Naval Station Everett Certifies First Explosive-Detection Dog

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071019-09
Release Date: 10/19/2007 3:47:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (NAC) Jason Beckjord, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Det. Northwest

EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Station Everett (NAVSTA) Military Working Dog (MWD), Rex, recently became the first explosive detection dog certified on the station, Oct. 4.

Rex is a three-year old, 100-pound German Shepherd military working dog who is partnered with MWD handler, Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Matthew Tarlton.

Upon graduating from an initial training course at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Rex was transferred to NAVSTA Everett to provide an on site bomb dog asset to the station’s Security Department.

“This is a good thing because when a ship pulls in we are often required to search the pier,” Tarlton said. “Previously, a dog from another Navy Region Northwest installation had to be transported to NAVSTA Everett to conduct the search.”

Dog teams work using basic dog psychology to establish rapport between the handler and dog, as well as establishing the handler as the “pack” leader.

“Each dog has its own personality, so you have to mesh the handler with the dog since they are a team” said Tarlton, “The dog may miss something that I find or vice versa and that is why they call us a dog team. In a dog team, it is important for the handler and dog to play off each other’s strengths in order to promote mission accomplishment."

Part of the dog teams training involves countless hours of mandatory running through obstacle courses, detection training, live-fire training, and top-notch medical care from Army veterinarians to ensure that the dog remains in peak physical condition.

Master-at-Arms 1st Class (SW) Lori Beeman, leading petty officer for NAVSTA Everett’s K9 unit is the Sailor responsible for Rex’s success. Working as the dog’s partner for the majority of its time on board NAVSTA Everett, Beeman has a strong working relationship with Rex.

“It took consistency, patience, and a lot of time to train Rex,” Beeman said. “I think he is an amazing dog with a wonderful personality and a great nose. I think he will go very far as a working dog”.

As an explosive detection dog, Rex may one day be deployed to use his skills overseas. However, as NAVSTA Everett’s only bomb dog asset, this is not likely soon.

“You grow close to them. You spend all day with them,” said Tarlton. “They become pretty much your friend as well as your partner. I am proud of Rex and would go to war with him”.

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